For most of us, Ramadan is more than just a month when we revamp our physical and spiritual personal goals. But it is a time – probably the only time – when a family sits together at a dinner table; conversations about the blessed month and ‘how time goes by so quickly’ dominate our conversation. And it leads to statements like ‘we haven’t done this for a long time’ or ‘I wish we could talk more often’ because in other months, we try to fit our dinner times in our own schedules, or sometimes skip it altogether as we’d have more important things to do than just spending a few minutes conversing with our loved ones.
You can see people giving continuously, not shying away from doing the most charitable act such as supplying food anonymously to the mosque and providing help to the less fortunate. Mosques become the central point of interest where people of different races and backgrounds break their fast together in congregation. Strangers become acquaintances, as well as friends.
And all of these started with shared meals and dinner conversations. No phones and tablets.
And it leaves you wondering, “Why can’t we all be like this in other months?” More importantly, “why can’t I be like this in other months?”
But you can.
Yes, there is something about Ramadan that just makes us extra charitable, motivated and less individualistic. It’s barakah that cannot be seen but felt, by the one whose genuine intention is rewarded. Barakah exists when a meal ends up filling two tummies for the same amount of filling only one. You know barakah is there when realistically you don’t have enough time to finish all tasks in a day but ended up doing even more. It is when you have a few dollars in your pocket for the rest of the month, but you never feel short of income as there’s always different sorts of rizq (sustenance) coming your way unexpectedly.
And one of the sources of barakah is eating together.
“Wahshi bin Harb (May Allah be pleased with him) reported:
Some of the Companions of Messenger of Allah (ﷺ) said: “We eat but are not satisfied.” He (ﷺ) said, “Perhaps you eat separately.” The Companions replied in affirmative. He then said: “Eat together and mention the Name of Allah over your food. It will be blessed for you.” [Abu Dawud].”
You might not realise it, but it’s because you’ve spent time getting to know your family members or friends who you haven’t talked with, for a while. It is the time that you’ve given to doing an extra deed that you haven’t done in a while that just gives you a warm feeling. The cozy and homey feeling that resembles the kid we see in movies during their holidays, sipping their hot chocolate with marshmallow in front of the fireplace in cold winter night. Yes, that kind of homey feeling. It’s barakah.
If you feel like you are having a blast getting to know your loved ones again, know that it doesn’t have to be the only time. Yes, you might be extra busy in other months. But always remember to reconnect with each other. Have a dinner, with a ‘no phones on the table’ policy where you can unleash your authentic self – where you can have a meaningful conversation about your life and theirs, or just a simple conversation about how their days went. Better yet, relive the Sunnah of eating food from the same tray. If that doesn’t diminish our ego to start a conversation, I don’t know what will.
You might be surprised at how relatively easy it is to rekindle a relationship, just by eating together and sharing a meal that you never thought you ever would.
So, whenever you feel like you need some barakah in your life, eat together and share a meal.